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Getting to Know Mother Mary
The Octave Day of Christmas Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God
Luke 2:16- 21
So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them. When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Opening Prayer: Lord, on this special day, I venerate your Mother and mine. I place my whole heart, mind, and soul into my effort to contemplate these first days of your life.
- A Mother’s Love: On that cold night in Bethlehem, Jesus entrusted his fragile humanity to Mary and Joseph. How well-prepared was Mary for this honor? An only child, barely 14 years old, far from her own mother, waited upon by no nursemaid or doctor, sheltered in a cave warmed by farm animals, with only Joseph as company, Mary had every reason to feel afraid, inadequate, “not enough.” Yet, as Saint John reminds us, “There is no fear in love” (1 John 4:18), and Mary’s capacity for love is matched by no other human heart. Oh, how she must have loved the Lord! Her pure love for him dispelled any “performance anxiety” she might have felt, any thought of “what if,” and any inclination to be embarrassed by her meager surroundings. With what tenderness she wrapped him warmly against the chill of the air. She loved the infant Jesus with perfect selfless love unstained by sin, with a pure motherly love deserving of her only Son, her God.
- A Mother’s Desire: Although the Lord appeared impotent and vulnerable in the manger, no one who came near him left unchanged. Curious shepherds, following instructions given to them by a choir of angels, approached the manger with trepidation. They saw, they worshiped, and they were transformed into bold, joyous apostles, spreading the news of your birth far and wide. They “amazed” people by their eyewitness account of the infant’s birth. Mother Mary observed their immediate conversion and “kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” She wants the same conversion of heart for all of her children and invites us to draw ever closer to the Lord to be transformed.
- A Mother’s Surrender: Traditionally, the parents name their children at birth. In the case of Jesus, the angels told Mary what his name was to be before she conceived. She surrendered to God even the privilege of naming her own child. There was nothing she held back from God. As a result of her faithfulness, in time she was raised from lowly hand maid to Queen of Heaven and Earth. God’s grace and blessings are showered superabundantly upon those who surrender to his will.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, thank you the gift of Mary our mother. We are a family! Help me to love you purely as Mary did, to stay close to you, and, by your grace, to surrender to your will and allow myself to be transformed.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will practice Mary’s docility by offering a silent prayer of surrender to you when difficulties present themselves.
For Further Reflection: Praying The Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary can draw us closer to Mary while we reflect on some of her many supernatural qualities.
Maribeth Harper celebrated paying the last tuition bill for her kids’ college by writing a book to encourage moms who have college-aged young adults, And So We Pray. She blogs about parenting adult children at andsowepray.com. She is a wife of 35 years, mother of four, and grandmother of six and counting.